Eva Pavlidou, Virginia Arvanitidou, Sofia Chatzigeorgiadou: The effectiveness of a pilot intervention program of Physical Education in Multicultural Preschool Education

Abstract

Research findings related to contemporary multicultural preschool education in Greece show the disadvantaged position of non-native children of preschool age, who appear to have low social status and acceptance, higher indices of loneliness and social dissatisfaction compared with their native peers, as well as increased disruptive behavior. On the hypothesis that a suitably designed Physical Education [P.E] program with emphasis on a music and kinetic content and dramatization of movements, based on intercultural material, can contribute to the improvement of communication and relations among the children and to the acceptance of cultural diversity, a pilot intervention program was implemented in five multicultural nursery schools in Thessaloniki, Greece, for a month. There were 84 preschoolers participating in the program (Boys=34, Girls=50), 34 of whom were non-native (Boys=14, Girls=20). To evaluate the intervention, the tools used were: the Teacher Assessment of Social Behavior questionnaire, the Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Questionnaire for preschoolers by Cassidy and Asher (1992), as well as systematic observation of the children’s performance. The results confirmed the hypothesis, showing a decrease of aggressive and disruptive behavior and a simultaneous strengthening of cooperative behavior in children participating in the program.